It’s sad to be in Pennsylvania while my parents are in Arizona with the Mariners and are sending us pictures like this one of Ichiro…
…, this one of new Mariner Jesus Montero…
…, this one of Felix (the catcher)…
…, this one of Smoak, Carp, Ichiro (with pink-lined shoes), Rick Griffin and Guti…
…, this one of Dustin Ackley…
…, this one of Hisashi Iwakuma…
…, this one of King Felix pitching…
…and this one of a foul ball my dad caught today and then got signed in Japanese by Ikawuma:
As explained by our friend Nao: “top, “岩” (IWA=rock); 2nd, “隈”, (KUMA=corner, shadow); 3rd, “久” (HISA, eternity); bottom, 志（SHI, will).”
Okay. That’s a lot of fun in Arizona.
But, while we don’t have any Mariners here in Pennsylvania, we do have baseball!
This past weekend, Tim and I headed to our favorite local ballfield with our buddy Greg for some catching, throwing and hitting. Tim focused on the hitting.
He had a lot of fun with his new baseball bats. Here is a single to right:
A little fun with photo editing resulted in this picture of Tim’s batting motion:
Near the end of our practice, I got two two pictures that did not require any photo editing (although they may look like they did). Tim took a mighty swing but came up empty on this pitch from Greg:
FYI, that is a cloth Rawlings training ball so it did not hurt when it nailed me behind the plate (I was using a camera only, no glove).
And I saved the best for last. Tim’s wicked 6-year-old bat speed made his new metal bat look like a flimsy piece of swing cheese on this swing:
While we are quietly longing to be in Peoria with our Mariners (and Grandma and Grandpa), an afternoon playing baseball at the park is a great alternative!
When the 2011 season scheduled was released, I was extremely excited to see that the Mariners would be making their first trip to Nationals Park. The downside was that the three game series was mid-week, with one game being a day game. I really wanted our whole family to attend one of the games so both Kellan and Tim could see the Mariners in only their second trip to D.C. But real life was not cooperating.
As the series approached, it was certain that we could not attend the second or third games the series because I would be on a brief business trip. The first game looked like it was effectively out too. But something happened during the day of the game that all of a sudden made the game possible. It was such a late call, however, that Colleen (and therefore Kellan too) wasn’t prepared to make the trip down. So around 3:30 p.m. on June 21, 2011, Tim and I hopped in the car hoping we could at least catch the tail end of BP.
And that is exactly what happened. We walked in and saw literally two minutes of BP before the Mariners cleared the field. In fact, it was so quick that we didn’t even get a single BP picture!
With the field empty, we headed into the infield to see if any Mariners were milling around over there. They weren’t.
So, we hung out down the 3B line and watched the field for a bit. After a while, the one and only Jason Phillips popped out of the dugout and headed out to the bullpen. We said our hellos and how-you-doings as he passed by on his way to the bullpen.
Once his colleagues joined Jason out by the bullpen, we snapped this picture of Doug Fister and Chris Gimenez stretching out:
Soon, Adam Kennedy made an appearance down the 3B line:
Kennedy gave Tim a friendly wave, which is always cool to get from a Mariner.
Soon some more Mariners joined Kennedy, including Justin Smoak and Dustin Ackley. This was the first road game of Ackley’s career. And when a guy in a Mariners fan called out his name and asked for an autograph, he came over…
…and signed for a few minutes. We didn’t have a baseball yet so we didn’t ask for a signature. And for some bizarre reason, I didn’t even think of asking Ackley if he would pose for a picture with Tim. Man, I must have been off my game!
Anyway, before the game started, we headed out to the LF and sat behind the Mariners bullpen. Actually, before sitting down, we peered down into the bullpen. Bullpen coach Jaime
Navarro walked by just then, saw Tim, and motioned to us as if to say “hold on, stay right there.” He then disappeared and reappeared with…
…this lovely Rawlings Official MLB baseball, which he tossed up to Tim.
Okay. It was game time and we were primed for our first Mariners win of the season. This was only our second Mariners game of the year, and they lost the first game 2-1 to the Orioles in the 12th inning. It was part of Brandon League’s stretch of losing 4 consecutive games. Ouch. So, we needed a win in a big way.
Things started out beautifully. Tim’s favorite player, Ichiro spanked a single into LF:
Tim then told me to take a picture of Ichiro on first base. So I did:
Ichiro then took second on a weak ground out by Brendan Ryan. As Ichi stood on second, Tim told me to take a picture of Ichiro scoring. And a few seconds later, Adam Kennedy singled
to CF and Ichiro scored:
FYI, Ichiro is directly behind Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos in that picture. His left leg is visible to the immediate right of Ramos.
Things were going great so far!
The Mariners scored a second run in the first inning when Dustin Ackley …
…singled to RF in this career debut road at-bat.
Doug Fister then came in and shut down the Nationals in the first. In the process of Fister shutting down the Nats, I got this picture of Ichiro playing RF.
After one inning, the Mariners led 2-0. We liked it.
We also liked this huge pile of chili nachos that we got before the top of the second inning:
Although it resulted in a nice action shot…
…Ichiro grounded out in the top of the second. But the Mariners tacked on a third run in the third inning on a Dustin Ackley RBI ground out. And this is what the scoreboard looked like after three innings:
Not only was the 3-0 score a happy sight, but it was nice to see “Seattle Washington” on the board as well.
Between innings, Screech rolled by on his lazy guy walking machine:
Between innings, we were also happy to find A.L. MVP candidate Larry Bernandez sitting nearby:
Larry Bernandez is an instant Mariners legend that hit the scene this scene. Great to see him in the OF at this game. Also, check out the cool 3D effect as Larry’s face matches up with his sign holder’s face!
During the bottom of the third inning, we needed to go on a water run. As we strolled through the 3B side concourse after filling a bottle with water, Ian Desmond hit a deep fly ball that
Franklin Gutierrez caught to end the third inning. We were in the concourse above the Mariners dugout, so we scurried down the stairs and nearly caught the ball after Guti flipped it about six rows deep into the crowd.
There were about 8 empty seats right where Guti flipped the ball, so we decided to sit down and give it one more shot at a third out ball. But before we knew it, we ended up spending five innings sitting in those empty seats.
On this pitch, Franklin led off the top of the fourth with a solid single into CF:
Franklin then stole second and Chris Gimenez…
…, shown here with all-round good guy Greg Halman, struck out swinging. That led to an 8-pitch at-bat by Mariners pitcher Doug Fister:
On the 8th pitch, Fister bounced a singled into RF and Gutierrez came around to score the fourth Mariners run of the game:
Ichiro and his classic pre-pitch pose…
…followed Fister, but grounded into an inning ending double play.
I don’t know what’s going on in this picture, but Tim looks hilarious:
See all the Mariners fans and people wearing baby blue behind us? More on them later.
Fister was pitching lights out all night. I was thinking he could pitch a complete game shut out:
In the top of the fourth inning, Adam Kennedy hit in yet another run. At that point, the Mariners lead 5-0. What a game! We were having a great time!
In the middle innings, I shot a bunch of pictures of Tim in our seats. Here are a couple of them:
And then I decided to take one with my cellphone to post on Twitter…
…and a couple minutes later the @Mariners replied: “What a handsome young man.”
The Nationals finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning when Ian Desmond crossed the plate following a Roger Bernadina single.
On this swing, Ichiro led off the top of the sixth with his second hit of the night:
But he was stranded on base after stealing second base.
Inning-after-inning Justin Smoak tossed third-out-baseball-after-third-out-baseball to the same people:
I’m not sure if he was tossing them to the older gentleman under the red arrow or the younger girl under the red arrow. Either way, it didn’t matter. The younger guy under the yellow arrow leapt high in the air and intercepted three of the baseballs (and his dad intercepted another when the yellow-arrow-guy was out of the seats).
Over the course of several innings, I struck up a little conversation with the guy right behind me. That whole row had super thick southern accents. I asked the guy behind me how all of those folks became Mariners fans with such thick southern accents. Turns out, they were Dustin Ackley’s friends and family visiting from North Carolina.
The three girls behind us looked like sisters and my understanding is that they are Ackley’s cousins. The guy also pointed out Ackley’s father sitting nearby. His mom and grandparents and a whole slew of other Ackley-people were sitting around us too. And the Mariners knew it because they were trying like crazy to get a third-out ball to these guys. One of the balls, in the bottom of the sixth inning, was a double-play ball started by Ackley. But the Ackley-people got robbed by the guy in front of them every time, and they went home empty handed.
Aside from watching their quest to get a third-out ball, the most interesting thing about sitting by these folks is that they all called Ackley “Dusty” the whole time. Here’s hoping that Dusty* has a long and stellar career as a Mariner.
Late in the game, Tim got a scrumptious ice cream helmet:
In the top of the ninth, Tim posed with Ichiro:
We were bursting with excitement for the Mariners win that was only three Nationals outs away in the bottom of the ninth.
As the Mariners were warming up for the bottom of the ninth, Tim and I slid into some seats right behind the 3B end of the Mariners dugout. When Justin Smoak tossed the infield warm up ball in toward the dugout, it bounced off of the netting and back into the middle of the warning track. But Michael Pineda hopped out of the dugout and grabbed the baseball. I called out “Hey, Pineda! Michael!” He looked up, saw Tim and me above the dugout, and flipped the extremely dirty infield warm up ball to us:
It was the ninth and the end of a long day, but Tim was still choke full of silly faces:
As things got started in the ninth, King Felix looked our way and gave us a little nod:
A few drops of rain started to fall, and Tim laid back in his seat to track the rain on its way down to earth:
As for the game, even though it was not a save situation and Fister had thrown only 99 pitches and given up 3 hits, Brandon League game came in to attempt to finish out the game. Jason Werth led off the inning and reached first on an error by Justin Smoak. Then League walked Roger Bernadina. Not a good way to start the ninth, but I felt okay with a four run lead.
Ryan Zimmerman then grounded into a double play sending Werth to third with only one out to go in the game. I was feeling good at this point.
And then I had a stupid, stupid idea. League worked Jerry Hairston to a 2-strike count. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool to take a picture of Hairston striking out to end the game for the Mariners win?” I snapped this picture:
Then I quickly started thinking that trying to take a picture of the final out of the game was a great way to jinx the Mariners. But it was too late. The jinx was on.
Harrison singled to center to score Werth (unearned run number 1 of the inning). 5-2 led Mariners.
Former Mariner Michael Morse then drilled a line drive off of Brandon League’s leg. League had to leave the game:
No one had been warming up at all. David Pauley had to jump up and head to the mound cold. Even though he would get unlimited warm up pitches, it seems like pitchers who come in following an injury to the previous pitcher always struggle. Pauley was no exception.
Danny Espinosa singled to RF scoring Harriston (unearned run number 2 of the inning).
Wilson Ramos (who??) crushed a walk-off home run deep into the RCF seats (unearned runs 3, 4, and 5 of the inning).
Mariners lose. We sat there stunned. It was painful. As I sat with my head hung in disbelief, the Mariners looked equally dumbfounded. Most of the team just stood there for a minute. Then Adam Kennedy slowly walked off of the field and his teammates started to follow him.
Such a great day of Mariners baseball turned so ugly at the end.
It had truly been a great evening at the ballpark with Tim…right up until the 26th out was recorded. Aye, aye, aye…
|2011 C&S Fan Stats|
|14/2 Games (Tim/Kellan)|
|14/4 Teams [Tim – Mariners, Orioles, Rangers, Brewers, Nationals, Phillies, Mets, Rays, Braves, Diamondbacks, Astros, Royals, Cubs and Angels; Kellan – Mariners, Orioles, Angels and Mets]|
|9 Ice Cream Helmet(s) (Orioles (2), Nationals, Phillies (2), Rangers (2), Mets (1))|
|43 Baseballs (6 Mariners, 7 Rangers, 3 Orioles, 2 Umpire, 2 Nationals, 2 Brewers, 5 Phillies, 2 Mets, 1 Rays, 2 Braves, 2 Diamondbacks, 1 MLB Authenticator, 1 Easter Egg, 1 Glove Trick, 2 Royals, 2 Cubs, 2 Angels)|
|6/2 Stadiums [Tim – Camden Yards, Nationals Park, Citizens Bank Park, Minute Maid Park, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Citi Field; Kellan – Camden Yards, Citi Field]|
|11/7 Player Photos* [Tim – Felix Hernandez, Adam Moore, Garrett Olson, Chris Seddon, David Aarsdma, Michael Pineda, Miguel Olivo, Ryan Langerhans, Greg Zuan, Mark Lowe, Michael Saunders; Kellan – Luke French, Milton Bradley, Franklin Gutierrez, Justin Smoak, Matt Tuiasosopo, Ryan Langerhans, Michael Saunders]|
|3/1 Management Photos* [Tim – Howard Lincoln, Jack Zduriencik, Eric Wedge; Kellan – Jack Zduriencik]|
|4 Autograph(s) (Michael Pineda, Michael Saunders, Mark Lowe, Felipe Paulino)|
|1 Bat* (Milton Bradley)|
|3/2 Mascot Photos* [Tim – Mariner Moose, Teddy Roosevelt, The O’s Bird; Kellan – Mariner Moose, The O’s Bird]|
|1/0 Divisions Closed Out** [Tim – A.L. West (Safeco Field, Oakland Coliseum, Angel Stadium & Rangers Ballpark in Arlington); Kellan – N/A]|
|1 Line-up Card (Royals vs. Rangers)|
|*includes Spring Training**divisions where we have seen each team play a home game.|
And he met a little friend (just to the left of Tim in the last picture) named Sean to play around with. My dad and Sean’s dad, the guy with the blue shirt and glove right in the middle of the picture, were my main foul ball competition. Both my dad and I only played for fouls until we got one, then we concentrated on watching the game. As that last sentence implies, yep, we both got one.
As best as I can tell:
After a brief detour through the Metrodome, its back to Spring Training. We still have a few more reports to go from the desert. This one has no real *story* per se, its just a bunch of pictures. It does, however, have a theme: practice. We took a bunch of nice pictures of Mariners doing the hard work of preparing for the 2011 season and its time to share them.
Each morning, the entire Mariners major league camp would report to practice field M3 for a big stretching routine:
The Mariners coaching staff hits hours of fungo to the Mariners infielders during Spring Training. Here, Justin Smoak gloves a grounder on the first day of full team workouts on M2:
This next picture is hilarious to me. This was the first day of full squad workouts and the coach (cannot remember which one) said, “First grounder of the season!” and then hit this ball to King Felix Hernandez a/k/a Larry Bernandez:
Erik Bedard has been a pleasant surprise this Spring. He is flat out pitching like a stud and finally looking like he might live up to the original hype. Here he is getting in his work in the mega-bullpen between M3 and M4:
What makes this next picture cool was unintentional and hard to decipher. However, if you click on the picture to enlarge it, you will see that I captured two balls in the air — Figgy gunned a ball to Justin Smoak that appears in the upper lefthand corner of the photo and Brendan Ryan his underhanding a second baseball to 2B:
One day, the guys all came out to practice and the outfielders reported to M6. Ichiro was all set to play catch with Milton Bradley when he realized he’d forgot his glove in the clubhouse. Ichiro’s interpreter, Anthony Suzuki, bolted off to the clubhouse and came cruising back with Ichiro’s glove:
…Tim took the other three from close range.
So there you go, a look behind the scenes at Spring Training practice. For my money, practice is where the fun is at Spring Training.
A great thing about Spring Training is that its much easier to meet, chat and get your photo with players on your favorite team. We love to get pictures with Mariners, and that was a major goal during our recent trip to Peoria. So, let’s take a look at what we got.
At Mariners Spring Training the best spot for getting your picture with a Mariner is in the long strip of grass leading from the batting cages behind the Mariners administrative office to practice field M3. There is a roped off strip down the length of the grassy area where the players walk out to the practice fields. That is where we got most of the following pictures.
First up, we ran into Adam Moore:
Moments later, it was Garrett Olson’s turn to pose with Tim:
The Mariners have two superstars — Ichiro and Felix Hernandez. We’ve wanted to get a picture with Ichiro for a long time. But its almost impossible. Felix, however, is another story. We got our picture with him in 2009 at Fenway Park. Tim was happy to meet up with Felix again in Peoria:
Before this trip, neither Tim nor I had ever got our picture with a major league manager. Well, new Mariners manager Eric Wedge was all over the place at Spring Training. And he was happy to lean in real close and smile big for this picture with Tim:
Note: In that picture, Tim is looking at me (taking this same picture on my camera) and Wedge is looking at my mom. This was a common problem during Spring Training. We got a bunch of pictures where one person is looking at one camera and the other is looking at another camera. Oh, well.
Our first baseball of spring training came from Mariners reliever, Chris Seddon. Moments later, Chris was posing for a picture with me and Tim:
It was actually quite funny. We took a first picture with Chris and me standing up straight behind Tim. Then Chris suggested that we get down on Tim’s level, which resulted in the picture above. Personally, I get a chuckle out of it each time I look at Seddon leaning with his hands on his knees and smiling for the camera. Seddon also took time out to say hello to the King of Camden Yards, Avi Miller:
Moments later, David “The D.A.” Aardsma rolled by on his flatbed golf cart and posed for a picture with Tim:
D.A. had surgery recently and was on crutched at the beginning of our trip. However, by the end of our trip he was off the crutches and hobbling around under his own power. At the end of the trip, we also got DA to sign a baseball for us:
I was quite excited to get this picture of Tim with Mariners phenom, Michael Pineda:
Before this trip, I’d never seen Pineda in person. Let me tell you, you cannot miss him. He is HUGE! If he wasn’t crouched down with Tim in this picture, his knees would probably be at Tim’s head level! (Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration, but he is huge). Pineda also signed this baseball for us:
Former and new Mariner Miguel Olivo was extremely nice to Tim:
After signing a baseball for us, Miguel crouched down and started chatting with Tim. He tried to shake Tim’s hand, but Tim was holding a fist full of authentic Arizona rocks. Instead of a handshake, Miguel was treated to a look at the rocks Tim had collected during catcher’s BP. Here is a look at the baseball Miguel signed for us:
For our first foray into the 2011 MyGameBalls.com Photo Scavenger Hunt competition, Tim got this picture with Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik:
He always gets excited when I mention we live in Pennsylvania, where he was raised. The first time (of many) we saw Jack on this trip, it was just barely drizzling. Jack was passing by us when he asked me “did you bring this [the rain] with you?” This is a common question that anyone from Seattle gets asked whenever they are in another state and it starts raining. I personally have had to answer this question about 40,000 times in my life. I responded, “Not me, we just flew in from Pennsylvania.” Jack was already past me (driving a golf cart) when he heard this and he immediately stopped and came back to ask me where we live in Pennsylvania.
Another top Mariners executive (and minority owner) was usually hanging around the fields during our trip. It was Howard Lincoln, Mariners Chairman, CEO, minority owner, and representative of the Mariners corporate majority owner, Nintendo. This picture of Tim and Howard Lincoln is another MyGameBalls.com Photo Scavenger Hunt picture:
Note: In this picture, Tim is standing on the back of a golf cart. If you click to enlarge the picture, you can see a tag hanging over the steering wheel that says, “Jack Z.” Yep, that was the golf cart Jack was driving when he asked if we brought the rain with us.
As already shown in our recent entry, we had a great interaction and got several pictures with…
The day we got the Milton Bradley bat was crazy. Its the same day we got the Luke French autograph (featured in our last entry). It was the same day as the Howard Lincoln picture. And it was the same day as the next six player pictures.
First up at the end of the daily workout session, Franklin Gutierrez a/k/a “Death to Flying Things”:
Next up, Mainers firstbaseman, Justin Smoak:
This was as good as we could do with respect to getting our picture with top Mariners prospect Dustin Ackley:
We also didn’t get a traditional, posed picture with Mariners outfield prospect, Greg Halman:
We had a nice chat with local Seattle product and all around good guy, Matt Tuisasosopo:
Tim was right with us during these last five pictures, but he didn’t want to get in any of the pictures. I was bummed about it because we’d still never had a picture with both Tim and Kellan and a player — every picture has either been one or the other.
That all changed when Ryan Langerhans passed by us. Tim asked Ryan to sign our Greg Halman baseball and then all of us posed for this picture:
Lower left: Justin Smoak 17
Lower right: Ryan Langerhans
At Mariners/Padres Fan Fest at the Peoria Sports Complex’s main stadium, Tim got this picture with Greg Zaun:
It’s Tim’s first picture with a Padre. See that baseball Zaun is holding? The first 400 kids at Fan Fest got a little back pack with Mariners and Padres baseball cards, a baseball, a sharpie and some other stuff in it. The baseball wasn’t a ROMLB. It was some random brand with an advertisement for a baseball card shop on it. It wasn’t a great baseball for autographs, but Tim ended up having a bunch of people sign it. Actually, its unfortunate he didn’t use our spare ball that a fan gave Tim a couple days earlier for all of those autographs. Oh, well, Tim was quite happy to collect a bunch of autographs on his door prize baseball.
Thanks again, Luke!
Our final picture with a Mariner was this group shot with the Mariner Moose, also at Fan Fest:
As you can see, Spring Training was excellent in terms of getting pictures with Mariners. We didn’t get our picture with Ichiro, but we knew that was a long shot, even at Spring Training. Other than Ichiro, the only player who I really wanted to get a picture with, but failed to do so, was Mariners pitcher, Jason Vargas. But maybe we can track him down during the regular season. We will see.